Wind Turbines are popping up in a lot of places that have a lot of wind. Why? Simply put, the wind is air in motion. Wind works by uneven pressure and temperature due to electromagnetic radiation from the sun. It represents a form of kinetic energy from the sun, hence said to be renewable. By using wind, we can transform it into other forms of energy.
Long before the advent of modern technology, wind energy has been harnessed to solve various human problems. Also using windmills for different purposes such as water pumping for irrigation and in animal breeding among others. Again, in transportation, wind energy has been used in sailboats for thousands of years. Due to the importance of electricity today and the cost of available sources, the wind has proven a better alternative.
Creating electricity from wind energy is no longer a new technology. For better understanding, the conversion from wind energy to power involves the wind turbine.
Ideas of the wind turbine and its various features
The Wind Turbine
Wind Turbine is a system built to tap the energy from wind and convert it to electricity. It makes up the different components which work together to achieve the transformation process. The major features include;
- The rotor blades; fixing the blades on an axis and spinning in the direction of the wind. The speed is also dependent on the strength of the wind.
- The generator which converts mechanical energy into electricity
- The cable which carries current to the transmission line
- The computer system which controls the direction of the blades
Other devices include the wind vane which gives the direction of the wind. Additionally, the anemometer which measures the speed and a transformer which regulates the voltage of electricity emitted.
The wind turbines are of two types based on the direction of the rotating shaft thus;
- The horizontal axis wind turbines which two or three blades that face into the wind and are the most common.
- The vertical turbines which have blades that go from top to bottom
How the wind turbine works
The pressure created by wind propels the turbine blades into a rotary motion. The turbine blades which are connected to a drive shaft transmit the kinetic energy of the wind to the generator. The generator converts the kinetic energy into electricity. The dispersing of electricity is by sending power to a substation.
The speed of the wind determines the quantity of electricity generated. For a typical wind turbine with energy generation of 2.3MW, minimum speed is about 10 feet per second. However, there are also speed limits, 34–47 knots (gale), over which the system is prone to damage.
Using wind to create electricity basically involves the conversion of mechanical energy of the turbine into electrical energy. The good news is; this process is renewable and eco-friendly! Effort should gear towards harnessing and amplifying this process to replace the unstable existing sources and save the greenhouse.
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